Life is slowly getting back to normal, or should I say a new normality? Things will never be the same, life changes and moves on and as with all crossroads there are possibilities and opportunities, a new chapter in all our lives.
I have found time again to paint and work on some commissions long overdue. This time for packaging and I have been enjoying working to season for once, spring flowers freshly picked are always inspiring. This time last year I was working on Christmas!
At the weekend I also found time to do more bookbinding and made two sewn books in the Japanese style using beautiful Japanese papers. The inner pages folded at the foredge and the spine stitched with silk. I learnt this method of making books with Kathy Abbott, designer bookbinder extraordinaire. Inspiration abounds
There has been so much doom and gloom in the world recently, so much suffering, heartache and unimaginable tragedy everywhere. My own problems appear very trifling when compared to the major catastrophes all around us. Nevertheless, I still would like to say a huge than you for the support and kindness that you have given me over the last few months. I may not have thanked you all individually but have been very appreciative non the less.
So now I would like to share with you some of the things that have made my heart sing. We celebrated Red Nose Day here in Britain recently. Comic Relief is a huge undertaking to raise money for charity. If you read Karen Davis’s blog “Moonlight and Hares” you will know that she offered an exquisite miniature original painting in her Etsy shop. All the proceeds went to Comic Relief and I decided to snap up the treasure whilst the going was good! It came a few days ago, beautifully wrapped and with extra surprise goodies. You can see the gorgeous little ACEO in the photograph; the detail in the fox is stunning.
I also entered a blog giveaway some time ago over on “Sweet Tidings” Christy has a fabulous blog and a huge and compassionate heart. I left the fiftieth comment which turned out to be the winner! She sent me this wonderful parcel all the way from The Philippines. It arrived on the same day as Karen’s so I had a joyous day when the postman knocked.
We have also been experiencing the most wonderful weather, blue skies and sunshine, daffodils and blossom everywhere; I hope your days are joyous too. The lovely Ravilious ceramics also came in the post. These were made by Wedgwood several years ago, sadly no more.
Over the last few months our lives have been dominated by boxes, all around us people are on the move. One son moved house, the other moved office and my mum is moving from the former family home into a smaller retirement property within walking distance of our house. Amidst the chaos it has been difficult to keep up with work, blogs, housework and all the other myriad of things that demand my attention.
There have been some tough decisions to make, what to keep, what to give and what to recycle and everywhere memories. Memories, which stop you in your tracks and cause you to ponder on your own mortality. We come into this world with nothing and we go out with nothing but we don’t half accumulate some stuff along the way!
So yesterday I said a tearful goodbye to the garden my father tended for the last fifty-five years, the primroses, the quince, and the flowering aubrietia all looked lovely in the spring sunshine. I now carry his spirit, along with my late brother and sister, here in my heart. Home is, after all, where the heart is.
The photographs show Knutsford, a Cheshire market town close by where we go to for the odd treat. There are good places to eat, cobbled streets packed with galleries and best of all the charity shops. “Posh” people it seems, throw away the best stuff! Of course I had to buy something when we visited last week, I found a lovely old wooden blotter for £3.50 and a vintage toast rack for 50 pence which I just had to have.
We ate lunch inside a quirky little museum which houses a collection of Penny Farthing bicycles and later explored some of the buildings associated with Elizabeth Gaskell. The novelist lived here and immortalized the town in her novel Cranford. Some of the buildings have an Italianate feel to them especially the Gaskell Memorial tower, which would not be out of place in San Gimignano!
We had World Book week a few days ago so I thought it would be fitting to share with you some of my recent acquisitions. I love a bargain, don’t you? I found this gorgeous re-print of Walter Crane’s “Here we go round the Mulberry Bush” for 99p and a very tatty copy of “Mrs Molesworth’s Four Winds Farm” for less than a fiver. I shan’t tell you what I paid for the “Baby’s Opera” but I am going to attend a book restoration workshop so I have told myself that this will be an investment. All of these titles were illustrated by my hero Walter Crane; my heart still skips a beat when I come across his work.
The other two books I bought in London, “Engraved Gardens” published by Primrose Hill Press Ltd is a beautiful book about wood engraving’s inspired by gardens. I came across “Twelve Poems about Birds” by Candlestick Press in The British Library bookshop; I bought it to give a friend on her birthday so I am hoping she won’t be reading this!
My name is Valerie Greeley. I am an artist, surface pattern/textile designer and illustrator. I have a special interest in the book arts including illustration, bookbinding, printmaking and artist books. I also have an interest in quilting, nature and bumblebees.